Email from a reader – some thoughts on freedom

13 Nov

I received this message from a reader who enjoys the blog and asked him if I could post it here. He agreed, so here it is. Some interesting thoughts on agency, accountability and the meaning of liberty.

 

medica

 

First let me start off by saying that I am a big fan of your blog ( I found out about it a month ago) and have very much enjoyed reading your posts. They are both insightful and wickedly humorous.

 

I spent six years in the military and have deployed to Iraq several times and the biggest lesson I’ve learned from that experience can be summed up in one word: accountability. Everything that you do, every decision that you make has to be carefully considered because it CAN and WILL get someone killed. I also have a very low tolerance for bullshit which has enabled me to see things for the way they are rather than the way they are intended– and believe me, when it comes to modern feminism, there is no shortage of it. Why? Mostly because it is completely and utterly devoid of accountability, on every level. So I guess that would make me an anti-feminist.

 

*cue self-righteous gasps*

 

Does that mean I hate all women? Does it mean that I’m some ugly troll living in a basement who can’t get laid? Does it mean I am against women’s rights or equality? Is it perhaps a suggestion that I wish things were better back in the olden days? You know, way back when minorities and women were actually discriminated against? Hardly. In fact I don’t even fit the stereotype of a typical “anti-feminist”, a characterization that certain bloggers have colorfully illustrated as a middle aged white man suffering from an existential crisis pining for his privilege.

 

Sorry to disappoint  you Jezebel, but that isn’t me– maybe that would make it easier to dismiss or trivialize what I am saying.

 

Nope. I am a 29 year-old male who is half Hispanic/half black and grew up in a low- income community and was raised by my mother, which all but guaranteed my failure as a young adult (can you say marginalized?). Thankfully that never happened, and as I type this I am pursuing a career in medicine and will one day be the first doctor in my family. I owe a lot of that success to enlisting in the military, which put me on the fast track to becoming a grown, self-actualized, responsible man. Holding myself accountable was a big part of that, but unfortunately it is also something I am seeing less of as I get older. More and more I am seeing a trend of victimhood and narcissism that has all but replaced the traditional aspects of adulthood like selflessness and accountability.

 

In my opinion I think accountability compliments the concept of “agency” pretty well because of its emphasis on personal responsibility. If agency is the ability to act independently ( of your own volition) then accountability is most certainly about owning those actions/choices. Although there are other issues, this seems to be the biggest one that Feminism gets wrong.

 

No matter how much they lobby, how much rhetoric they use, or how loudly they yell, feminists will never succeed in claiming their most coveted prize: liberty, which is the condition of being free from restriction or control. Agency is an extension of that, which also means that if you are not willing to accept the responsibility (accountability) that comes with it, then you will never be “free”.

 

Ironically, the people who have the best understanding of this are the ones who work in professions that require them to give up their own liberties in order to protect those that belong to others (the greater good) such as firefighters, cops, and service members. Sacrificing for the greater good is a recurring concept throughout military culture, and is part of the reason why bootcamp comes as such a shock to young men and women who have never thought of anyone other than themselves– for the first time in their lives they are actually being held accountable for their actions, especially when those actions can adversely impact everyone else.

 

True story:

 

For the sake of clarity I will refer to this guy as Mr. Forgetful:

 

On my second deployment we had been in country for about a week when Mr. Forgetful forgot that he had left his rifle leaning against a HUMVEE, unattended. A fact that had been made known to us by our platoon commander after he found it himself. We were promptly punished and soon found ourselves filling sandbags in the sweltering heat. After we were done, our commander gave us a speech about teamwork and accountability. While Mr. Forgetful was the one who messed up, we were also responsible since we failed to look out for him. An error that we fixed later that evening.

 

Amongst ourselves we issued Mr. Forgetful one simple mandate: for the next week he would have his rifle strapped to his body. Whether he was sleeping, eating, or taking a dump, he would be expected to have it in his possession at all times. If any one of us found him without it, a swift ass kicking would follow.

 

To an outsider this may appear harsh, but to anyone who has spent time in the military, what we did was not only appropriate, it was necessary. What if the rifle had fallen into the wrong hands? What if Mr. Forgetful had left something far more critical behind such as a grenade round or a document that had our radio frequencies on it? One mistake can compromise an entire mission.

 

Needless to say he never left his weapon unattended again, and we never had to kick his ass, but most importantly we learned a valuable lesson: If we wanted to get through our deployment in one piece, then we were going to have to learn to operate as a team and look out for each other. There was no room to play victim, no advantage to gain by pointing fingers, and certainly no time to worry about hurt feelings. Either you live or your die. It was really that simple.

 

Everywhere you go in the military, there is some variation of this lesson but the end result is still the same: everyone understands that they are accountable for their actions, regardless of gender. Is it any wonder then, that many women in the armed forces do not consider themselves modern feminists? Even more interesting is that they are also the first ones to admit that men and women are not interchangeable, especially in the infantry. To them this seems like common sense, but to a feminist, it is another antiquated practice that needs to be *cough reformed* modernized. Ironically the ones who probably won’t find themselves in the middle of a fire fight or in the path of a mortar round, seem to be the ones who are also the most outspoken about interchangeability, while the ones who have the most insight see things in a more realistic light.

 

Political correctness and good intentions do not win wars– strong, skilled, and efficient warriors do.

 

Carl Von Clausewitz once said “War is a continuation of politics by other means.” Ever notice how the ideas of War and Politics never seem to overlap in that statement? That’s because no matter how well versed you are with 19th century philosophy, all of the Von Clausewitz in the world is not going to save you when the bullets start flying. There is a point, where debate becomes ineffective and violence is necessary. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why feminism has no place in formulating military policy– women aren’t in the infantry because they are subjugated or oppressed. It’s because on average, they have less upper body strength than men. Why is that an important consideration? Consider this: how is a female who weighs 150 pounds (wearing a flak jacket with a full battle load) going to be able to move a 180 pound male with 100 pounds of gear to safety while bullets and mortars are blowing up around her? Oh AND he has arterial bleeding thanks to a bullet that nicked his femoral artery when he was shot. There is no doubt that she could do it, but the question is would she be able to do it before he bled out? When put in that perspective, it becomes abundantly clear that making men and women interchangeable in the military is a very bad and potentially dangerous idea.

 

It is also one of the fundamental reasons why I disagree with modern Feminism. Not particularly because I consider their movement anti-male, but mostly because they only seem to be interested aligning themselves with likeminded ideologues while casting out critics and skeptics that would otherwise bring a much-needed perspective to a never ending manifesto of patriarchal oppression. A movement that vilifies the opposite sex while vehemently rejecting opposing viewpoints in my opinion is the very definition of bigotry. It is hard for me to believe that Feminists want social/political/ and academic equality when they enthusiastically lobby for legislation that exclusively benefit women while remaining largely silent on the ones that adversely affect men.

 

Agency and accountability go hand in hand– take one away and the other ceases to exist. Feminists may want agency, but they are not willing to accept accountability, or if they do, selectively apply it when it is convenient. Why take responsibility when there is always some “boogieman” that you can pin the blame on? That boogieman can come in the form of rape culture, the gender pay gap, benevolent sexism, or my personal favorite- the patriarchy. All of these issues are vague and have no specific underlying cause, yet for these reasons and many others, feminists have largely succeeded in convincing American women that they are systematically oppressed. This contradicts the whole idea of agency, since on some level it requires accountability, and so the plight of women, much like an endless game of whack-a-mole, becomes a practice in futility. That is not agency, and that is not liberty, and so long as feminists continue to behave in that manner, they will never be “free” from the invisible barriers that supposedly hold them back.

 

J.

 

Thank you, J. Twitter may think they are pleasing their customers by censoring any criticism of feminism, but in the real world, almost everyone can see it’s a crock of shit.

 

Have you seen this? What word do Time readers want banned?

 

ban feminist

 

Feminist.

 

Couldn’t agree more.

 

Lots of love,

 

JB

 

 

45 Responses to “Email from a reader – some thoughts on freedom”

  1. That_Susan November 13, 2014 at 19:40 #

    This is an excellent post. We need to never quit being thankful for those who put their lives on the line daily to protect our freedoms. And I completely agree that agency and accountability go hand-in-hand. I agree that it’s absolutely wrong for anyone to enjoy the freedom to vote while being exempt from the draft — at least in countries where one portion of the population has to register (the only exception is that people with disabilities that don’t interfere with their ability to make a reasoned decision should still be permitted to vote, even if they’re rejected for the draft).

    As I’ve already shared in other threads, I’m in favor of abolishing the draft so that our military is completely staffed by only men and women who truly love and want to serve the American people — and as someone at this blog has already suggested, I need to put my money where my mouth is and start working for this.

    On a side-note, I just took a moment to find the Facebook site “People’s Campaign to Abolish the Draft” and am now a follower. Hopefully this will keep me from procrastinating or forgetting to put my money where my mouth is.

    I’m in an odd position because, on the one hand, I agree that men and women are not interchangeable — and indeed, no two people are interchangeable. There’s no such thing as equality in the sense of any two people being able to make the same quantity or quality of contributions to the world.

    On the other hand, I believe that we should all be able to vote.

    I guess when I say I’m egalitarian and for equality, I’m really talking about equity. With equity, two very different people making two very different kinds and degrees of contributions to their countries can both still have a say by voting. With equality, two very different people would be expected to make the SAME kind and degree of contribution in order to have the same amount of voting power.

    http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-equity-and-equality/

    Like

  2. That_Susan November 13, 2014 at 19:47 #

    P.S., in my previous post, I didn’t mean to imply that this author had said anything about women enjoying voting privileges while being exempt from the draft. I should have said, “I agree with those who feel that it’s absolutely wrong for anyone to enjoy the freedom to vote while being exempt from the draft — at least in countries where one portion of the population has to register (the only exception is that people with disabilities that don’t interfere with their ability to make a reasoned decision should still be permitted to vote, even if they’re rejected for the draft).”

    Like

  3. KeninNZ November 13, 2014 at 20:17 #

    wonderfully written and congratulationsand thanks to the writer for all has has done and become

    Like

  4. pjblue November 13, 2014 at 21:00 #

    I spent 20 years in the British army and can confirm what the poster says about responsibility and accountability. I also remember being punished for leaving my weapon on the side of a tank !

    Like

  5. worleyf November 13, 2014 at 21:28 #

    Outstanding letter and thank you for your service.

    Like

  6. anonymous November 13, 2014 at 23:58 #

    Aparrently someone at Time was unable to keep that link up…

    Like

  7. judgybitch November 14, 2014 at 00:20 #

    Really? It’s working for me. Shows 49% of all respondents voted to ban feminist

    😀

    Like

  8. B November 14, 2014 at 01:57 #

    I was reading this: https://archive.today/YWopw

    It stated that women had no right to vote until the 19th Amendment passed.

    Like

  9. Jason Wexler November 14, 2014 at 02:50 #

    Kind of off topic, but, is it really a valid survey when all but two other options were nonsense? Also it may be that the people who wanted to ban the word, wanted to do so for other reasons than what you are implying. For instance, they really want to rescue it from negative associations that allow people like us from painting, feminism as something bad. Of the words that were on the list, that I understood, I would hazard to guess that it was a list composed by left leaning pedantic language nazi’s with English degrees and a hatred of contemporary language evolution; a group which isn’t known for disagreeing with feminism.

    Like

  10. Morris November 14, 2014 at 03:25 #

    Went to that link at Time and got “Sorry, you have reached a page that doesn’t exist”

    Like

  11. bruce wyse November 14, 2014 at 03:58 #

    Great post but the writer makes the mistake of thinking logically. Feminism is based on emotional arguments. Also I believe that the leadership are all Marxists and are really interested in raw power. Remember, to the feminists, 1984 is an operations manual. What they say is not just wrong, it is not only a lie, but a lie with an ulterior motive. Huxley’s term: NEWSPEAK. Controlling the narrative equals power.
    They are assisted by the “useful idiots” on all sides, Tradcons, lefty academics, uncritical journalists, opportunistic politicians and cowards everywhere(can you say NFL?)

    Like

  12. Tata November 14, 2014 at 08:01 #

    Also when I click on the picture it´s kind of funny…
    Femininst 49%
    bae 13%
    om nom nom nom 4%
    yassss 3%
    Either someone hijacked the picture directly on your page ro you looked no further than the first line….

    Like

  13. Spaniard November 14, 2014 at 09:34 #

    My deepest respect to soldiers and my deepest respect to the Army as an institution. My biggest repulsion to the destruction of Mesopotamia by American, British and Spanish (a little but infamous cooperation) armies
    .Christians used to be a respected minority in Middle and Near East. Now they are being slaughtered. Thanks to the Iraq war.
    Women used to wear Western style in Iraq. Now they are wearing burkas.

    Like

  14. That_Susan November 14, 2014 at 11:59 #

    I’ve seen some really heartbreaking footage of children there who were born with severe and painful deformities because of the bio-warfare their mothers were exposed to. I will never see how that helped any of the people who lost loved ones in 9/11. Of course, the soldiers who did that were just following orders — and it seems like the orders are made by people who don’t have to live with the consequences.

    Like

  15. That_Susan November 14, 2014 at 12:14 #

    I should add that I’m aware that many of our soldiers have also suffered severe injuries from bio-terrorism.

    Like

  16. Vinzenz November 14, 2014 at 13:52 #

    “It’s because on average, they have less upper body strength than men.
    […]
    When put in that perspective, it becomes abundantly clear that making men and women interchangeable in the military is a very bad and potentially dangerous idea.”

    I would like to challenge this point of view. The problem is that the policy (“no women”) does not meet the requirement you formulate (“enough upper body strength”). This mismatch is actually pretty big, since it would let small and weak men pass, leading to the same dangerous situation you describe. Therefore I guess that it is complemented with fitness and strength criteria, i.e., you need to pass a physical test in order to be deployed in an infantry unit. And in that case, why not take just the physical test alone? This would allow women to enter while at the same time ensuring that they bring enough upper body strength to do their job.
    Therefore the argument you bring up to exclude women from infantry units is insufficient.

    Like

  17. That_Susan November 14, 2014 at 15:01 #

    Don’t women already have to pass the same physical as men to join the U.S. military?

    Like

  18. That_Susan November 14, 2014 at 15:27 #

    I just found an article (first link below) from nearly two years ago stating that although there are different physical standards for men and women in some branches of the military, there are the same standards for men and women when it comes to ground combat.

    A second article (second link below) talks about “political masters and radical feminists” putting pressure on the military to lower those standards for ground combat — but it doesn’t actually cite any actual names of people or groups who are saying that they want the standards lowered.

    I did find a blog post by a feminist (third link below) who is in favor of raising, not lowering, the fitness standards for women in the military — but thus far, I haven’t found anything about feminists wanting unfit women placed in ground combat positions.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/01/24/women-in-combat-briefing/1861887/

    http://nation.time.com/2013/07/25/the-cowardly-push-to-get-women-into-combat/

    http://fitandfeminist.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/opening-combat-to-women-raises-questions-about-fitness-standards/

    Like

  19. Tyler November 14, 2014 at 15:53 #

    You’re absolutely correct that the proper thing would be to have strict fitness standards and leave genitals out of it. However, there’s two social trends that screw with this:

    “We need more women in the military.”

    “Women and men are equal.”

    These together lead to political pressure to lower the physical requirements for women, to get more of them into the service. The military members I’ve known have all confirmed to me that there’s a ton of political bullshit, like quotas, stupid routines and regulations, and just generally things that are neutral or damaging to combat effectiveness in the name of appeasing some civilian authority.

    As an aside, combat effectiveness is not the only consideration regarding women in the military. Unit cohesion and the sanctity of a male space are also factors, though that’s a harder truth to get most to swallow. Plus it’s complicated by the existence of gay men in the military, which are a bit of a wild card on those two fronts.

    Like

  20. That_Susan November 14, 2014 at 16:59 #

    I suppose that many would find it very hard to change clothes, or take care of basic toileting needs, while in the presence of anyone whom they think might be looking at them sexually, or anyone whom they might feel sexually attracted to. Maybe this is something that needs to be practiced while training.

    One interesting concept I learned about, while touring a replica of an American Indian village, was the concept that that particular tribe had about privacy. Several families lived together in one tipi, which might make it seem like there was no privacy — but ingrained in their culture was the idea that all anyone who wanted to be alone needed to do was turn his or her back to the group. When this happened, the group considered that this person wasn’t there and didn’t “see” him or her.

    I agree that in combat situations, people need to feel a high enough degree of cohesion that they can trust one another to respect their privacy. Anyone with a tendency to harass others should be eliminated from such a group, as well as anyone with a built-in unwillingness to build cohesive relationships with women or gays.

    Like

  21. Vinzenz November 14, 2014 at 17:46 #

    @That_Susan: “[…] there are the same standards for men and women when it comes to ground combat.”
    Last I heard women were not deployed in direct ground combat within the US forces at all. Did that change?

    @Tyler: “These together lead to political pressure to lower the physical requirements for women, to get more of them into the service.”
    I know what you are talking about. I see the same trend here in Germany and I am opposed to it. However, these points are independent from each other. Indeed you can have fair standards, without preferring any sex.

    “Unit cohesion and the sanctity of a male space are also factors […]. Plus it’s complicated by the existence of gay men in the military […].”
    I was saying that the specific argument is invalid. That does not mean that there is no valid reason at all to exclude women. But you have to bring a better argument.
    The same goes for cohesion and sanctity. These exact same points were once used to justify the exclusion of gays from the military. Now they have been more or less tolerated for some time and to the best of my knowledge there is no indication that this has had any effect on combat strength. So why should this now apply for women?

    @That_Susan: “I suppose that many would find it very hard to change clothes, or take care of basic toileting needs […]”
    At almost every larger event I visited, there would sooner or later be queues in front of the lady’s rooms. In this case it is not unusual for women to go to the men’s rooms. So obviously this is not a big issue when the pressure is high enough. In a combat situation with bullets flying around, I cannot image that anyone would care about that.

    Like

  22. That_Susan November 14, 2014 at 17:59 #

    @ Vinzenz: “Last I heard women were not deployed in direct ground combat within the US forces at all. Did that change?”

    As I have never served in the military and was quoting from articles more than a year old, I think Tyler would be better qualified to answer your question.

    Like

  23. Spaniard November 14, 2014 at 18:04 #

    Susan, no corelation at all Iraq-9/11.

    In fact it seems 9/11 it was a Zionist attack. According to David Duke.

    “Es muy JODÍO vivir bajo el JUDíO” (It sucks to live under the Jew).

    Like

  24. Jack Strawb November 14, 2014 at 18:43 #

    From TFA: “Is it perhaps a suggestion that I wish things were better back in the olden days? You know, way back when minorities and women were actually discriminated against?”

    Ah, jeez. I’m happy to give you “women,” but do we really have to go through this foolishness again and again wrt minorities? Is it really too complicated to hold two ideas in mind at the same time, both that minorities and blacks especially are viciously discriminated against in the US, AND that they should also do their damnedest to overcome this discrimination?

    It’s damnably odd that the writer’s claims would have any currency on a blog where it’s well understood that men in some areas are significantly discriminated against.

    Like

  25. Jack Strawb November 14, 2014 at 18:46 #

    Just so we’re talking about the same things, “the same physical” is not the same as passing all the fitness requirements for various duties..

    Like

  26. Jack Strawb November 14, 2014 at 18:49 #

    “Also I believe that the leadership are all Marxists…”

    FFS. Really?

    I can only suggest you start by reading Capital and understand how second rate feminist academics kidnapped Marxism by scratching out “class” and fraudulently inking in “gender” in all their copies.

    Like

  27. Jack Strawb November 14, 2014 at 18:52 #

    “This is an excellent post. We need to never quit being thankful for those who put their lives on the line daily to protect our freedoms. ”

    The author served in Iraq. Did you misread?

    Like

  28. That_Susan November 14, 2014 at 19:43 #

    Jack, I’d like to change two words in your following quote: “Is it really too complicated to hold two ideas in mind at the same time, both that minorities and blacks especially are viciously discriminated against in the US, AND that they should also do their damnedest to overcome this discrimination?”

    I’d like to change it to the following one: “Is it really too complicated to hold two ideas in mind at the same time, both that minorities and blacks especially are viciously discriminated against in the US, AND that WE should also do OUR damnedest to overcome this discrimination?”

    I can agree with it if you’re talking about ALL of us banding together to end all kinds of discrimination (in the way the word is politically defined — I’m not, of course, talking about annihilating our ability to discriminate between good and evil). Women should care about injustices against men and vice-versa, and, of course, whites should care about injustices against minorities and vice-versa.

    I’m reminded of the poem Goober linked to recently on another thread here — “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” by Rudyard Kipling. It’s about paying attention to age-old morals like “Honesty is the best policy.” The Gods of the Copybook Headings are completely at odds with the Gods of the Marketplace. In my own nation — the U.S. — we have a long history of following the Gods of the Marketplace when it comes to our dealings with anyone we see as “other” — such as, for example, the Native Americans.

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings know that we’ll never enjoy true prosperity as a nation until we’re willing to honor all the treaties we’ve broken, and make amends for all the ways we’ve exploited other nations while blindly worshipping the Gods of the Marketplace. The more I think about it, the more I realize that all discrimination can usually be traced back to economics and power — and the idea that I can have more so long as I make sure those who aren’t like me have to settle for less.

    http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm

    Like

  29. That_Susan November 14, 2014 at 19:46 #

    Right. There are many jobs in the military that can be done equally well by people of varying strength and fitness levels.

    Like

  30. tabibujuha November 14, 2014 at 19:50 #

    @vinzenz just out of curiosity have you ever been in the military?

    Like

  31. That_Susan November 14, 2014 at 19:51 #

    No, I didn’t misread. The author is someone willing to put his life on the line to protect you and me. Just because I don’t believe that everything OUR GOVERNMENT ordered our soldiers to do in Iraq was helpful to the American people, or to anyone — this doesn’t mean that I devalue the soldiers, some of whom did die or suffer injury — in some cases, I believe they were injured by the bio-warfare OUR GOVERNMENT saw fit to release in that region.

    Like

  32. richard November 14, 2014 at 23:28 #

    I expect this to be the first time I don’t make it through the moderation because I’m going to be politically incorrect. Which is ironic. Because this statement makes me laugh:

    “Political correctness and good intentions do not win wars– strong, skilled, and efficient warriors do.”

    Foot soldiers incredibly overestimate their value. Most wars are over in office rooms before they even start. The ability to make allies or negotiate deals have saved (and destroyed) more lives than any warrior can dream to match.

    Even when it comes to war technological resources (and even the fucking terrain) dictate the results of battles no matter how much the soldiers like to think they make a difference.

    If you want to change the world, get a PhD in a STEM field or run for President.

    I normally let these things go –no point in hurting his feelings– but from a man boasting about keeping it real this was a bit too much.

    Like

  33. That_Susan November 15, 2014 at 00:04 #

    I mostly agree with both of the following statements:

    “Political correctness and good intentions do not win wars– strong, skilled, and efficient warriors do.”

    (Here, I would modify a bit and say, “Political correctness and good intentions ALONE do not win wars– strong, skilled, and efficient warriors will always play a crucial part.”)

    I agree wholeheartedly with this: “Most wars are over in office rooms before they even start. The ability to make allies or negotiate deals have saved (and destroyed) more lives than any warrior can dream to match” —

    But strongly disagree with this: “Foot soldiers incredibly overestimate their value.”

    How on earth can you claim to know what is going on in the mind of each and every foot solder? If they thought they were so much more valuable than people like me who have never served in the military, then why would they be willing to risk their lives for me and so many others like me?

    Who’d be more likely to rescue you or me from a burning building — a foot soldier, someone with a PhD in a STEM field, or the President? I’m not saying this to devalue STEM people or political leaders — some of them might indeed risk their lives for us. I’m just saying that there are cases where I’d bet on a foot soldier being more selfless when it comes to physical danger. I do understand that there are other kinds of sacrifices and other kinds of bravery — but in a fire, I’m more interested in someone who’s physically brave.

    I actually think both of you would agree that war should only be employed as a last resort — and that even after a war’s been started, both sides should remain open to negotiating and finding a way, that both can live with, to stop the bloodshed.

    So why value one person, or one gift, over another?

    “If you want to change the world, get a PhD in a STEM field or run for President.”

    I don’t feel led to do either of those things, and I don’t need anyone to document how I’ve changed the world, before I can feel good about the part that I’m taking in my little piece of time. We can value and appreciate one person without devaluing another.

    I’m just picturing people saying stuff like, “What’s the big deal about Mother Teresa, or Vincent van Gogh, or Alex Haley — or Jesus? — it’s not like they were in STEM!”

    Like

  34. tabibujuha November 15, 2014 at 04:31 #

    @Vinzenz To clarify, the PFT (Physical Fitness Test) is different for males and females. The Marine Corps for example, tests in three different areas, for males: pull ups, sit ups, and a three mile run. For females: flex-armed hang, sit ups, and a three mile run. There is a BIG difference in the amount of physical strength required to complete a pull up versus a flexed arm hang. I think a lot of confusion comes from the fact that people believe that women are prohibited from serving in the infantry just by definition of being a woman. First, you have to take the ASVAB (aptitude test), which will determine whatever jobs best suite your skills and then choose the one that appeals the most. With that being said, you have to consider the fact that many women who enlist simply do not find the idea of getting their legs blown off very appealing and often opt to pursue less hazardous specialties. Also, the physical requirements for being in the military aren’t the same as the requirements for the different MOS’s (Military Occupation Specialty)– in other words being a supply officer is less physically demanding than being in Force Reconnaissance. You are correct in your assessment, some women can, and often do perform better than some males on the PFT, but they are the exception. Additionally, there are designations within the military where strength is not relevant i.e. communications, intelligence, supply, and admin, which as I’m sure you’ve guessed, contain very little gender disparity. The example is meant to challenge the notion that women and men are equal ON AVERAGE in every aspect, especially within the context of war, rather than to blindly assume that they ARE just because it is is politically correct. Oftentimes people dichotomize these topics in a attempt to rationalize their arguments, which is fine–everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it still does not change biological/physiological reality. If men and women aren’t equal in this regard, then what other areas aren’t they equal in? The inevitable conclusion is that they may be equal in some things, but aren’t in all things, which is an important step in acknowledging that men and women (although different) can bring something unique, but just as valuable to the table. One would assume that these differences are self-evident, but Feminists continue to assert the erroneous notion that a proper utopia is contingent on the absolute parity between men and women, without taking into consideration, the different biological, cultural, and economic factors that affect their life choices.

    Like

  35. Jack Strawb November 15, 2014 at 05:35 #

    I was speaking in the limited context given by the writer. No offense to you, but it didn’t occur to me that among reasonable people, of good faith, it was necessary to argue that the larger, societal “we” should resist and cure discrimination.

    Thanks for the link. I’ll give a look.

    Like

  36. Jack Strawb November 15, 2014 at 05:43 #

    “No, I didn’t misread. The author is someone willing to put his life on the line to protect you and me.’

    We’ll have to disagree, then. The war in Iraq was a brutal, immoral, illegal war of aggression; a war of choice, and a war that also had an enormous moral cost to the United States. Our bombing, invasion, and occupation of that country did nothing to protect you and me. To be sure, the reverse occurred.

    In addition to the dreadful, irredeemable cost in human lives the war in Iraq has only made us less safe. I can’t even begin to thank people for their service in fighting an illegal war begun and fought for the most fraudulent and venal of reasons.

    Like

  37. tabibujuha November 15, 2014 at 07:15 #

    @Richard

    “Foot soldiers incredibly overestimate their value. Most wars are over in office rooms before they even start. The ability to make allies or negotiate deals have saved (and destroyed) more lives than any warrior can dream to match.”

    Pretty harsh assessment for the “foot soldiers” don’t you think? I’m going to take a guess and assume you’ve never been in the military, or at the very least, never been in a position where you’re life was in danger, in which case, you’re opinion is understandable.
    While political leaders can start, end, and negotiate the terms of a war, ultimately the success of it is based on the capabilities of the men and women fighting them. Even though the President of the United States can authorize military action, the generals and commanders are actually the ones who orchestrate it, and the grunts (“foot soldiers”) carry out the orders. How the war started and when it ends is besides the point, because it IS a political means to an end, and within that hierarchy, soldiers are the most affected by it. So to dismiss their contributions simply because their sacrifices aren’t qualitative, to me, is doing a great disservice to the men and women who gave up their lives in support of it.

    “Even when it comes to war technological resources (and even the fucking terrain) dictate the results of battles no matter how much the soldiers like to think they make a difference.”

    Either you went to West Point Academy and have extensive knowledge in military warfare or this is a generalization. Technology plays a minimal role in ground combat ( since the letter was talking about infantry), and becomes ineffective in close quarters combat. The Battle of Fallujah is a perfect example of this, because it illustrates how MOUT (military operations on urban terrain) was largely dependent on the success of ground forces. Heavy artillery and other advanced weaponry was not an option since preserving the city’s infrastructure was also a consideration.
    I agree that terrain can be a factor, but not enough to render the actions of ground forces inconsequential. Take The Battle of Iwo Jima; US Marines faced machine gun fire form the beach front as well as Mount. Suribachi. Since the terrain was mostly rock and ash, Marines had a very difficult time establishing fighting positions and advancing forward. It took 36 days before they successfully took the island, but in doing so, paid a big price. Out of the 70,000 troops that participated, 26,000 became casualties and 6,800 were killed in action. To put that into perspective, the total amount of troops killed in World War 2 is around 405,399. Even with the use of technology, and the challenges in terrain, the success of that war was largely dependent on how many people were willing to give up their lives to carry out the orders of leaders who made those decisions in “office rooms”.

    Regardless, I do not think soldiers overestimate their own value, in fact many of them struggle with depression and PTSD, which combined with the suicide rate (22 every day), would suggest that maybe your assessment is incorrect.
    If the warrior statement seemed boastful, then consider this: the guy who said it probably meant it as an aphorism to the nature of war, and more than likely learned that truth by losing some of his friends.

    Like

  38. That_Susan November 15, 2014 at 12:52 #

    One big tenet of military training is to learn to follow orders without question and unreservedly. I DO thank our young men and women who were willing to put their lives on the line in complete, unquestioning service to their country — but I’m very angry that those who had the power to choose differently didn’t do so.

    Like

  39. That_Susan November 15, 2014 at 12:54 #

    “Those who had the power to choose differently” were the political powers that be.

    Like

  40. Bum Bum November 15, 2014 at 18:43 #

    Entry into the infantry should be based one ability and not on the person’s gender. The average male could not be an infantry soldier while the average female could not be an infantry soldier, it is a hard role and most men/women could not take it. But there are some men and some women who have thr ability, why should some exceptionally strong woman be exempt if she meets all the standards?

    Like

  41. WinterSoldier November 16, 2014 at 18:43 #

    As a former infantry officer and Afghan veteran, the author gets it. Also, female PFT standards in the military are much lower than male. The military needs to establish a single standard for fitness, particularly in combat arms, that all soldiers and Marines match regardless of sex. The average male isn’t strong enough for combat anymore, and the average female is worse off. One standard for all isn’t “fair” or PC but it is necessary and equal.

    Like

  42. bookooball November 17, 2014 at 07:21 #

    You’re welcome. 😉

    Like

  43. richard November 17, 2014 at 19:22 #

    > If they thought they were so much more valuable than people like me who have never served in the military, then why would they be willing to risk their lives for me and so many others like me?

    I didn’t mean “value” as in “value as a human being” I meant “value in winning wars”. Of course soldiers are valuable human beings.

    What bugs me is the inconsistency between claiming that soldiers are above political correctness and that their training grants them a degree of self-insight and clarity that puts them above mundane people WHILE spouting stereotypical, self-aggrandizing beliefs shielded by political correctness because no one wants to be caught criticizing the military.

    Like

  44. richard November 17, 2014 at 20:17 #

    To reiterate what I posted above.

    I’m only pointing the inconsistency between claiming that soldiers are above political correctness and that their training grants them a degree of self-insight and clarity that puts them above mundane people WHILE spouting stereotypical, self-aggrandizing beliefs shielded by political correctness because no one wants to be caught criticizing the military.

    Otherwise I don’t really care about this.

    > Technology plays a minimal role in ground combat and becomes ineffective in close quarters combat

    I really doubt the Marines would have traded their equipment, armament, vehicles, intelligence gathering tools and the cooperation of the local civilian population (as much as you make of it) with the insurgents at Fallujah.

    > Out of the 70,000 troops that participated, 26,000 became casualties and 6,800 were killed in action.

    I’m not saying anything against the value of numerical superiority, I’m just saying he is overestimating the value his individual performance.

    > If the warrior statement seemed boastful, then consider this: the guy who said it probably meant it as an aphorism to the nature of war, and more than likely learned that truth by losing some of his friends.

    And I’m OK with that. In fact an slightly inflated ego is considered healthy. Brutally honest self assessments usually are an indication of depression. It just was a bad finisher after a long tirade about how everyone ELSE gets it wrong.

    Like

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